Endometriosis through the eyes of traditional chinese medicine.
Endometriosis is a condition suffered by women of various backgrounds, race and age. The word endometriosis is derived from "endometrium endometrium /en·do·me·tri·um/ (-me´tre-um) pl. endome´tria the mucous membrane lining the uterus.
n. pl. ", or the lining inside of a woman's uterus. Endometriosis occurs when the lining somehow makes its way outside of the uterus. Generally, it is found in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments supporting the uterus, although it can occur in a number of different locations. The lining is not shed during menstruation, as is the lining inside of the uterus. This condition may inflame surrounding tissues, causing symptoms ranging from abdominal pain to infertility.
Treatments for endometriosis are as varied as the disease itself. Some Western treatments of endometriosis involve hormonal therapy or even surgery. For many women, Traditional Chinese Medicine Traditional Chinese Medicine Definition
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient and still very vital holistic system of health and healing, based on the notion of harmony and balance, and employing the ideas of moderation and prevention. (TCM (1) (Trellis-Coded Modulation/Viterbi Decoding) A technique that adds forward error correction to a modulation scheme by adding an additional bit to each baud. TCM is used with QAM modulation, for example. ) offers an alternative to invasive or otherwise uncomfortable procedures. My own experiences suggest that acupuncture and Chinese herbs are more effective and much less unpleasant and dangerous than hormonal treatments or surgery to treat endometriosis. Some women may require surgical approaches for treatment of endometriosis. However, it makes sense to try to obtain relief with Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment.
The symptoms or signs of endometriosis are numerous, with varying degrees of pain and severity. Some of the more common symptoms include:
A) painful menstruation; often beginning one to two days preceding the menstrual cycle (also known as secondary or progressive dysmenorrhea) and including severe pain on the first day of menstruation. This pain recurs and becomes more severe month after month. Also common is distention dis·ten·tion or dis·ten·sion
The act of distending or the state of being distended.
n a state of dilation. and pain in the middle of the lower abdomen and lumbar-sacral region.
B) irregular, absent or prolonged menstrual cycle.
C) infertility; although not present in all cases, endometriosis can result in infertility.
D) painful intercourse; 30-40 percent of patients suffering from endometriosis report pain during intercourse.
F) painful urination and increased bowel movements during menstruation.
G) other gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
The symptoms that characterize endometriosis are similar to many other conditions. Before one is diagnosed with endometriosis, it is important to distinguish between this and other diseases, such as the rotating, twisting or turning of ovarian cysts or chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Disease pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infection of the female reproductive organs, usually resulting from infection with the bacteria that cause chlamydia or gonorrhea. (PID (1) (Process IDentifier) A temporary number assigned by the operating system to a process or service.
(2) (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) The most common control methodology in process control. ).
Generally, endometriosis cannot be diagnosed in a simple pelvic exam. The most common and precise manner in which endometriosis is diagnosed is through the use of laparoscopy laparoscopy
Procedure for inspecting the abdominal cavity using a laparoscope; also surgery requiring use of a laparoscope. Laparoscopes use fibre-optic lights and small video cameras to show tissues and organs on a monitor. . This is a surgical procedure involving the insertion of a lighted tube through the navel, allowing the surgeon to view the inside of the abdomen.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Endometriosis
Traditional Chinese Medicine, a system of health care that originated in China about 2500 years ago, teaches that endometriosis is primarily caused by blood stasis, or rather slow or decreased blood circulation. Blood stasis is caused by many external and internal factors that occur during and around the time of menstruation. Occasionally, blood stasis is a result of improper retaining of blood in the abdominal cavity after surgery. TCM also teaches that endometriosis is not a disease operating alone. The body must be seen as a whole, with each organ depending on another. Think of chain reaction: all factors must be present and functioning properly in order for the reaction to occur. According to TCM, the kidney and the liver are two of the most vital organs affecting a woman's reproductive system.
Regarded as the foundation for growth and development before birth, the kidneys contain the genetic blueprint for the next generation. The balance between kidney Yin and Yang Yin and Yang
two complementary principles of Chinese philosophy: Yin is negative, dark, and feminine, Yang is positive, bright, and masculine [Chinese yin dark + yang bright] is linked to the quality of egg production and plays an important part in conception.
The liver is a principal organ responsible for maintaining the circulation of Qi throughout the body. TCM teaches that a harmonious balance between the liver and kidneys plays a key role in facilitating successful ovulation ovulation /ovu·la·tion/ (ov?u-la´shun) the discharge of a secondary oocyte from a graafian follicle.ov´ulatory
The discharge of an ovum from the ovary. and subsequent conception. When endometriosis is present, these organs cannot function properly or ward off diseases as healthy organs might.
Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments for endometriosis attempt to increase circulation and rid the body of blood stasis by smoothing the channel, or pathway, supplying blood to the body. This treatment often uses Chinese herbs. Herbs such as pangolin pangolin (păng-gō`lĭn), armored, toothless mammal of tropical Asia and Africa. Pangolins range in length from 3 to 6 ft (90–180 cm) including the long, broad tail. Their snouts are narrow and pointed. scales, cinnamon twigs, fennel seed, and lindera have remarkable blood or Qi regulating properties. In addition, herbs such as corydal, corydalis Corydalis
a genus of American plants in the family Fumariaceae; contains isoquinoline alkaloids which cause convulsions, vomiting and diarrhea. Includes C. aurea, C. caseana, C. flavula. Called also fitweed, fumatory. , mastic, myrrh myrrh: see incense-tree.
symbol of gladness. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 176]
See : Joy , and bupleurum offer strong pain-relieving properties. Another TCM method of treating endometriosis is acupuncture. Acupuncture has been known to be extremely successful in reducing pain from endometriosis. Acupuncture applies needles on certain points which will influence the nervous system, organ functions, and the endocrine system, and further alters and balances the body's hormones.
Finally, TCM treatment is particularly successful in-restoring Qi movement and especially tonifying the kidney. This can be done with Chinese herbal medicine Chinese herbal medicine
see herbal medicine. , acupuncture or Tui Na. Tui Na is an ancient Chinese form of massage, meaning to grasp and pull. All these are excellent ways to relieve the pain associated with painful symptoms of endometriosis.
Dr. Li Du is member of The American Association of Oriental Medicine American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM),
n.pr umbrella organization of American professional acupuncturists founded in 1981 as the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM). and licensed in acupuncture in Georgia. She's currently teaching and practicing at Edgewood College of Georgia, School of Oriental Medicine. Please call for more information: 770-451-3006 or 678-637-1185.